One of my early google searches when I decided to take my trip was “cool places to sleep in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia”. One result was a blog of a couple that had just spent 2 weeks volunteering at La Senda Verde – an animal sanctuary about 3 hours from La Paz, Bolivia. And here, they have a TREEHOUSE. And you can sleep in it!!! with monkeys all around you!!!
Okay, confession: I love treehouses. I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them (it’s a private board because I don’t want to harass people’s main page with the sheer number of pins I have).
Originally I had planned ona 2 week volunteer stint, just like the people on the blog. But true to the style of my trip, plans changed. An old Katimavik colleague and friend Rachel decided to meet up with me and pitched the idea of checking out Chile.
Long story short the more I looked into Chile, the more I wanted to go. I cancelled my volunteering to make time for Patagonia. But I was FOR SURE still going to sleep in that tree house.
To get to La Senda Verde, I set out to bike down the “Death Road” which is appropriately named due to the number of people who have died on route… Though they have closed the road to traffic in the last couple years making it significantly safer.
At this spot our guide Andreas told us that a group was sitting on this cliff waiting when across from the they saw a girl biking down and trying to take a selfie. Distracted, she biked right off the cliff.
The long winding road… I rode the breaks the WHOLE way.
But I looked badass anyway!!
I am glad I did it – I almost didn’t… But all went well. I didn’t fall or slip or bail at all!
The bike ride brought me right to La Senda Verde. I said goodbye to my fellow bikers and hello to the monkeys!!
Here is the treehouse. Monkeys loved to play around here, especially in the mornings. I woke up to them jumping on the roof, porch and bridge.
As an outsider it is possible that I carried worms or diseases that could harm the monkeys so technically I was not allowed to touch or hold them. But after a few days we all seemed to forget this and I got closer and closer to them!
I literally spent entire afternoons or mornings just watching them. The black spider monkeys especially are SO human/child like you can’t hep but love them. The more I watched them and spoke to the volunteers about them, the more I could see personality differences among the monkeys. So incredible!!!
There were other animals there too. My least favourite being the macaws that would guard my door so I couldn’t leave. I was told their white cheeks turn pink when they are mad so on the third day of them annoying me I decided to bug him back by tapping the my window he was guarding. Totally worked – pink cheeks!!!
They also had this ugly duck that they called Duck Vader.
When I wasn’t watching the monkeys I was reading or swimming in the river. One night it thundered and rained which was spooky to say the least. But the dreary morning made for a perfect lazy start of watching movies.
At the end of the day, I was glad I didn’t volunteer. Turns out that most of the monkeys (not photographed here) were rescued from abusive female owners and do they are aggressive to women. They don’t let the women work with them. So I would have been stuck cleaning turtle and bird cages for 2 weeks.
The visit was great and I am glad I went. I spent a lot of time agonizing over my itinerary for the remainder of the trip, with my new goal of Patagonia. I went back to La Paz after the animal sanctuary to wait for Rachel. Our timing was off so we met for an evening and then I took off for Bolivia’s Salt Flats. We will meet up again in Puerto Montt where we have booked a boat to take us through Patagonia. Can’t wait!!!!
Next addition will be the Salt Flats!!!!